take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


How do you know where you belong?

Or should I say, how long do you stick something out before you can conclude that you just *don't* belong?

I lived in Southampton for five years, but I never really considered it to be home at the time, despite owning a property there. Only now, having left, do I feel the tug of roots I didn't realise had been laid down. It's hard to feel affection for the place itself. An infrastructure bombed to buggery during the second world war and rebuilt with brutalist concrete edifices which would be fine if you could just look at them as examples and then move on to the next exhibit, rather than having to live among them and look at their oppressive greyness every day. No, what draws me there is the people, my people, the life I had when I lived there. It was a life which couldn't include Big at that time, though, which was why it was reluctantly cast aside in favour of Big's job opportunity in the West Country.

Will I feel the same pull for this place when we leave? That's "when", not "if", because we don't belong here. Or maybe we will find out we do belong once we've gone. Which brings me back to my original question: I've spent so long not belonging that I'm not sure I'll recognise belonging when or if it ever comes along.

What seems certain is that I belong with Big. I used to think that it didn't matter where we made our home, as long as it was together. A romantic notion, yes, but rather a naïve one. One which ignores the importance of friends and family in the equation of life. One which believes the well-meaning friends who claim that they will visit but who rarely do. One which fails to consider the fact that two people raised in two of the biggest, most cosmopolitan cities in this country may find it hard to adjust to small town life in one of the most rural regions of England.

It won't happen any time soon, but we will leave this place and try again. Try again to find out where we belong.

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